For the second season in a row, Capital High School lost a marquee player to injury entering the 3A West Central/Southwest bidistrict tournament.
Chris Penner, the Cougars’ leading scorer, exited late this season with an achilles injury. TJ Mickelson, now a freshman redshirting at Washington State University, missed the playoffs last season with a broken collarbone.
But, for the second straight season, the Cougars still find themselves within reach of the state playoffs.
Capital knocked off Hudson’s Bay, 60-44, in a consolation-round game Tuesday night at Foss High School to keep its season alive. Four players scored in double figures — and two had double-doubles — to put the Cougars in position to advance to the state regionals for the second consecutive season.
“We’re just a really cohesive team who is great on the floor with each other,” said senior Luke Layton, who led all scorers with 16 points. “We know how to pick up points where we’ve lost people.”
“We are a team in every sense of the word,” Capital coach Brian Vandiver added. “We’re more than just one person, and we’ve always been that. We were more than just one person last year. We’re showing we can play ball.”
No matter what combination is on the floor.
Grant Erickson (14 points, 11 rebounds), Brett Stock (10 points, 10 rebounds) and Dawson Landers (14 points) all made big contributions Tuesday to keep the Cougars on pace.
Capital never trailed after Stock opened scoring with a rebound and putback less than a minute in, and the Cougars scored consistently to hold off a handful of short Eagles runs.
Hudson’s Bay remained in reach until midway through the fourth quarter behind Quadrese Teague’s team-high 13 points, but Capital went on a 16-5 run in the final six minutes to win comfortably.
“We knew they were going to be a scrappy team, so we had to bring out a lot of energy to match their energy on the floor,” Layton said. “Once we started moving the ball and hitting some shots, it carried over and we were able to win.”
Capital (17-6) moves on to face a battle-tested Prairie (17-6) team at 7:45 p.m. Thursday at Clover Park High School. The winner is guaranteed a trip to the state regionals. The loser goes home.
“We have our work cut out for us, but at the same time if you’re still alive at this point, you’re a good basketball team,” Vandiver said. “It really comes down to a lot of little things. It comes down to who is mentally ready to play, who is hitting shots on that night.
“We’ve got to be locked in like we were Saturday (against Lincoln). If we do that, we give ourselves a chance.”
Spanaway Lake 74, Shelton 54: The Sentinels (17-6) rallied from a quarterfinals loss to North Thurston last week to come back and end Shelton’s season at Clover Park High School.
The Highclimbers finish their season at 9-14.
2A SOUTHWEST BOYS
Mark Morris 76, Centralia 49: The Berger brothers combined for 52 points as the Monarchs routed the Tigers in the semifinals at R.A. Long High School.
Tyler Berger scored a game-high 27 points, while Garrett Berger had 25 to vault Mark Morris into the 2A Southwest District tournament title game.
Tyler Ashmore scored a team-high 18 points for Centralia in the loss, while Ben Janssan added 14.
Centralia (12-10) plays 2A Evergreen Conference rival Black Hills (13-9) in a loser-out game at 6 p.m. Thursday at W.F. West High School. The Tigers won both regular-season meetings.
No. 8 Columbia River 61, No. 4 W.F. West 45: In a meeting of, arguably, the 2A Southwest District’s two best teams, the Chieftains held steady throughout.
Jacob Hjort led all scorers with 21 points for Columbia River, and hit the final of 10 3-pointers for the Chieftains to lift them to a semifinals win at Mark Morris High School.
Bailey Cooper was the only scorer in double figures for W.F. West, leading the Bearcats with 13 points.
W.F. West (19-3) meets 2A EvCo rival Tumwater (11-12) at 6 p.m. Thursday at Centralia High School. The Bearcats swept the regular-season series, and did not lose a 2A EvCo contest this season.
Tumwater 43, Ridgefield 39: The T-Birds extended their season for at least one more game, winning a consolation-round game at Mark Morris High School.
Tumwater held off a late push from the Spudders, who went on an 8-1 run within the final two minutes to advance.
The T-Birds (11-12) play 2A EvCo rival W.F. West (19-3) at 6 p.m. Thursday at Centralia High School. The Bearcats swept the regular-season series, and did not lose a 2A EvCo contest this season.
Black Hills 62, Washougal 48: The Wolves survived and advanced with a win over the Beavers in a consolation-round game at R.A. Long High School.
Black Hills (13-9) plays 2A EvCo rival Centralia (12-10) in a loser-out game at 6 p.m. Thursday at W.F. West High School. The Tigers won both regular-season meetings.
1A SOUTHWEST BOYS
Forks 51, Elma 38: The Spartans topped the Eagles for the third time this season, ending Elma’s run in the 1A Southwest District tournament at Hoquiam High School.
The Eagles finish their season at 4-18.
1B TRIDISTRICT BOYS
Tulalip Heritage 50, Pope John Paul II 44: The Eagles fell just short in their quarterfinals matchup at Tulalip Heritage High School to fall to the consolation side of the 1B Tridistrict tournament bracket.
PJP (12-11) plays Lummi Nation (15-9) in a loser-out game at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at Evergreen Lutheran High School.
4A WC/SOUTHWEST GIRLS
Olympia 44, Thomas Jefferson 42: Emily Anderson gave the Bears a two-possession lead with 17.9 seconds to play, and the Bears held on to advance at Mount Tahoma High School.
The Bears made a fourth-quarter comeback to advance in the a 4A West Central/Southwest bidistrict tournament consolation-round game, and are now back in a double-elimination situation.
Olympia (14-10) plays 4A SPSL rival Rogers (17-8) at 6 p.m. Thursday at Stadium High School in a winner-to-state game. The Rams swept the regular-season series, winning both meetings by double digits.
2A WEST CENTRAL GIRLS
Kingston 45, River Ridge 39: The Buccaneers outlasted the Hawks at Bellarmine Prep in a 2A West Central District tournament loser-out game.
Mia Flores cut Kingston’s lead to one possession with 11.5 seconds to play, but the Bucs made key free throws to ice the game and end River Ridge’s season.
The Hawks finish at 10-13.
Note: Reported box scores for district-playoff games are available at preps.theolympian.com.